Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

2021 Lübeck

HELCOM Ministerial Meeting 2021: Updating the Baltic Sea Action Plan


The HELCOM Ministerial Meeting 2021 (MM2021) was held in Lübeck, Germany on 20 October 2021. It was hosted by Germany, holder of the chairmanship of HELCOM (2020-2022). The Baltic Sea Action Plan (2021 update) was adopted during the MM2021.

Ministerial Meetings are the highest decision-making level in HELCOM and are to be held every three years unless decided otherwise. The Ministerial Meetings are attended by the highest representatives of our Contracting Parties, namely by the Ministers of the Environment or Maritime Affairs of the nine Baltic Sea countries as well as by the EU Commissioner for the Environment.

Impressions from the Ministerial Meeting 2021 that was held on 20 October 2021 in Lübeck, Germany. ©BMU/JFM Fotografie

See more photos of the Ministerial Meeting 2021 on Flickr

The Ministerial Meeting 2021 was attended by:

  • Lea Wermelin, the Minister for the Environment of the Kingdom of Denmark,
  • Harry Liiv, Deputy Secretary General at the Ministry of the Environment of the Republic of Estonia,
  • Krista Mikkonen, the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change of the Republic of Finland,
  • Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary at the Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety of the Federal Republic of Germany,
  • Artūrs Toms Plešs, the Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia,
  • Simonas Gentvilas, the Minister of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania,
  • Marek Gróbarczyk, the Deputy Minister of Infrastructure of the Republic of Poland,
  • Sergey M. Anoprienko, the Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation,
  • Helen Ågren, the Ambassador for the Ocean, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Sweden,
  • and by Virginijus Sinkevičius, the Commissioner of Environment, Oceans and Fisheries of the European Commission.

Jan Philipp Albrecht, the Minister of Energy, Agriculture, the Environment, Nature and Digitalization of the German state of Schleswig Holstein, and Jürgen Buchwald, the State Secretary at the Ministry for Agriculture and Environment of the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern also attended the Ministerial Meeting, which was chaired by Lilian Busse from the German Environment Agency (UBA) and Chair of HELCOM (2020-2022).

Updating the Baltic Sea Action Plan

Recognizing the  importance of the Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP) for achieving good environmental status in the Baltic Sea, the HELCOM Ministers decided, during the Ministerial Meeting in Brussels in 2018, to update the plan by the end of 2021 at the latest. It was then further agreed to adopt the updated BSAP during the HELCOM Ministerial Meeting 2021 (MM2021).

The HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP), initially adopted during the HELCOM Ministerial Meeting in Kraków in 2007, is an ambitious and comprehensive regional programme of action to achieve a healthy marine environment. The plan, unique on a global level, remains one of the most effective instruments for achieving the HELCOM environmental objectives, offering a long-term vision and strategic orientation. The original BSAP can be credited with reducing inputs of nutrients and hazardous substances, improving the protection and state of biodiversity, and cleaner and safer shipping practices.

The updated BSAP is based on the current plan and maintains the same level of ambition. It also includes all actions and measures from the previous plan that haven’t been implemented yet. In addition, the updated BSAP also considers emerging and previously insufficiently addressed pressures such as climate change, marine litter, pharmaceuticals, underwater noise, and loss and disturbance of seabed, among other pressures, making it fit-for-purpose to address today’s challenges.

The updated BSAP is also closely aligned with international and regional ecological objectives such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the EU’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) as well as all other pertinent EU legislation and programmes and the legislation of the Russian Federation, including the Maritime Doctrine of the Russian Federation. This positions HELCOM as one of the regional platforms for the implementation of these targets and objectives.

Ministerial statement

Associated action documents adopted during the Ministerial Meeting 2021

Supporting documents

Background documents

Visual identity


Mock Employee
Laura Meski

HELCOM Secretariat

Mock Employee
Dominik Littfass

HELCOM Secretariat